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Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

Mindful Moments, the fifth publication from Wayne Scherr and Range of Vision Photography has been published and is now offered to the public for viewing and purchase. Mindful Moments is a collection of images is a cross section of imagery that ranges from the mountain landscapes of Glacier National Park to garden florals water movement and abstract photographs. All are from my home in Montana.

Mystery Creek cover for Mindful Moments

Mystery Creek cover for Mindful Moments

From the introduction:
It was the weathered wood fence and floral garden beyond at my brother’s home that defined Mindful Moments for me. This was where photographic images offered themselves to my camera and opened my heart.
Together as photographers we have discovered brief seconds of light that sculpt the natural world and in the creative process developed connections that define one’s life.
Mindful Moments have since shadowed my footsteps as I focus on broader landscapes and experimental visions. It is with great respect for the encouragement and support of my brother, Greg, that I offer these images to the viewer in hopes that sharing them will transcend my experiences into a greater awareness of thought and be moved by these, visual, Mindful Moments.
120 pages illustrated with 99 photographs
Standard landscape format 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 cm) with soft cover $37.95
To preview and purchase your copy of Mindful Moments, go to

 

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/abstract-from-a-land-of-landscapes/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/challenge-your-photographic-vision/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/water-the-meditation-of-liquid-music/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/fear-and-persistance-of-expression/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/sense-what-the-landscape-is-telling-you/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr,
Range of Vision Photography, 2012, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any
manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of
Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com.

You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

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The pristine ecosystem of Montana’s Glacier National Park was made for landscape
photography. Called the “Crown of the Continent” its’ graphic glacier carved
geography and flow of energy is nothing short of stunning.

Known as the “Backbone of the World” by Native Americans, Glacier has more
than a million acres of aspen and pine forests, flowery alpine meadows, clear lakes,
jagged peaks and prominent glacial-carved valleys.

The Park’s diversity is also home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, and wolf, Mountain Goats and Bighorn sheep. Everywhere you turn it’s easy to get
electrified by the view and the life that surrounds you.

Up at Many Glacier on the eastern side of the Park I intended to photograph Swiftcurrent
Falls.

Swiftcurrent Falls Glacier National Park Montana
Swiftcurrent Falls

I wanted my images to be powerful and dynamic. I scouted the location and climbed down to small ledge facing the deafening cascade. You could feel the energy of the thunderous falls charge through your body.

To convey its’ power and flow I chose a 20mm wide angle lens and got in close, careful not to slip into the stream and get flushed down into the gorge and river
below.

I used the juxtaposition of background and fore ground to create an illusion of perspective. I feel it gives the viewer a sense of being there in the image, itself. It expands the experience and gives the viewer a further sense of your perception. In this
case a sweeping wide angle of power and strength.

Near far compositions create scale and interest. Coupled with the slight zigzag pattern of diagonal lines in the composition it keeps the viewer’s eyes moving back and forth
within the picture.

Swiftcurrent Falls Glacier National Park Montana
Morning at Swiftcurrent

When photographing waterscapes it’s a good idea to eliminate as much of the sky as
possible because the sky can be a distraction drawing the viewers eye away from
the essentials, the dynamics of the composition.

Overcast light, even haze is good when photographing water because it diffuses the light
so that you can employ slower shutter speeds and not get hot spots that are
created by bright light. A polarizing filter also comes in handy.

The use of motion blur and the texture that forms with water from a timed exposure is
essential in capturing the vitality of a waterfall.  Applying a full depth of field and an ISO of
100 with shutter speeds from ¼ to ½ second and you’ve got the shot. Slower
shutter speeds in brighter light would have washed out the highlights and
faster speeds would have distracted from the impression of movement and flow I
wanted to portray.

I encourage readers to get out and photograph water. Experiment with liquid movement,
motion and blur as design elements to express yourself. Be in the moment. Let
me know how it goes.

Get helpful information from these websites:

Glacier
National Park – www.nps.gov/glac

Glacier’s webcams – www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/webcams.html

Lodging and activities – www.glacierparkinc.com

Montana Visitor’s Guide – www.visitmt.com

Sunrise Sunset calendars – www.sunrisesunset.com

The Photographer’s Ephemeris – www.photoephemeris.com

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/astracts-from-a-land-of-landscapes/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/salty-legs-and-mountain-goats/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/crown-of-the-continent-glacier-national-park-montana/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com.

You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Entering Glacier from Babb on the eastern side of this National Park in Montana
I drove the potholed two lane road toward Many Glacier.
Aspen trees lined the road and whipped by my car window.

Bursts of laser white pulsed backlighting the aspens’ deeper shadows. Traveling at 40 miles per
hour sunlight reflecting off Lake Sherburne flashed bright specular highlights
across my face like a strobe. The sub alpine lake shimmered in the afternoon
light drawing my attention.

Lake Sherburne Glacier National Park Montana

Lake Sherburne Glacier National Park Montana

It was abeautiful day with blue skies, fresh mountain air and no one else on the road.
Each time I explore Glacier I am inspired by the dramatic landscapes that
blanket both sides of the Continental Divide, here in this Crown Jewel of
Montana. This sparkling day was no different.

I grabbed my camera that is always waiting at my side and opened the window. A quarter of
a second exposure, the lens set at infinity and with the car rolling down the
road, I couldn’t resist tripping the shutter.

Implied motion within a still image has always been intriguing to me.  Obviously composition is difficult but leaning toward spontaneity keeps the adrenalin going and in this situation it is all
trial and error anyway.

swift current creek glacier national  park montana

Swiftcurrent Creek Montana

I don’t know what the aperture was. It doesn’t matter. That kind of thing is
immaterial. What counts is inspiration and being there. This kind of exercise
is more primal. It is recording the flow of energy. Trying something different,
experimenting with what comes your way keeps the photographer’s creativity in flux.

I was excited by the revelations that followed.

The extended exposures formed the definition of an abstract image with patterns,
harmonies of color and touchable textures. They ask the viewer to participate
by projecting their thoughts and experiences into the question of what these
pictures are about.

What do you see in these turbulent shifts of light and motion? Is it something new?
Do they engage you in thought?

Let me know your impressions or comments.

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/challenge-your-photographic-vision/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/water-the-meditation-of-liquid-music/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/fear-and-persistance-of-expression/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/sense-what-the-landscape-is-telling-you/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr,
Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any
manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of
Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com.

You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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In Photography with the capture of form, texture and color, we
depict what we perceive as real and meld it into a more fantasy style of illustration.
This is called an abstract.

The visual connection between the subject and viewer is formed by
the viewer’s imagination, perception and experiences. Their insight transcends
the visual elements of the image in the communication process.

Storm on the Horizon is actually moving water
rushing over colorful rocks in an alpine mountain stream high in the Absaroka
Beartooth Wilderness of Montana. I used a timed exposure of three seconds and
this implied the motion I wanted to convey. Depth was created by the horizontal
lines of surging water and specular highlights it picked up in the foreground.

Photographic abstract water movement

Storm on the Horizon

Incorporating a second layer of flowing water gave the composition
added depth and movement developing a translucent curtain above the underlying
streambed. This gave the image a windswept driving rain illusion. Perhaps a
hurricane or tropical storm in thought.

During post processing, using Photoshop, I enhanced color
saturation in the submerged rocks focusing on the red hues. I felt this gave
life to the image with an almost sunset feeling.

So what do you perceive when viewing this photograph, a sunset? Is
this a storm front on the ocean? Does it matter what the photographer saw or
thought he saw when composing in the viewfinder? Is it up to the viewer and
their experiences that actually determine the final communication between the
image, viewer and photographer?

Forget me not – In this floral abstract photograph I went for
the color effect of bright blue for its visual appeal.

abstract photograph blue florals

Forget me nots

Over the last few summers I have tried to depict Forget- me -not
flowers in a direct way. I have used them as background splashes of color,
as distinctive out of focus bokeh (boquet) successfully but when isolating them
as a single documentary image it just didn’t work the way I envisioned.

Earlier this season I worked with panning the camera during
exposures, especially on trees, and was happy with the results. When these
brilliant sky blue flowers blanketed the garden midsummer I thought of this
technique again and used it to capture the color and texture of this ground
cover.

In order to slow the shutter speed to convey this style of motion
I added a polarizing filter to my wide angle lens and shot a series of one
quarter to one half second exposures. With the shutter open I panned the
camera, while attached to a tripod, and liked the results.

In post processing, again, I utilized Photoshop to enhance the
blue hues resulting in a dynamic color abstract photograph.

When photographing abstracts you have to kind of forget what your
subject matter really is, and be open to different uses of lenses, camera
settings and post processing techniques.

Imagination plays the most important role in determining the final
results of the finished print. Think in terms of shapes, textures and color
combining them to make a unique image that is not what it is but what your
imagination sees.

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/challenge-your-photographic-vision/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/water-the-meditation-of-liquid-music/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/fear-and-persistance-of-expression/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/sense-what-the-landscape-is-telling-you/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr,
Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any
manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of
Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com.

You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Been working on a rebuild and design of my website http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com for several weeks now and finally after some trouble shooting this weekend and a long phone call into my host server have things up and running.

I have changed some of the galleries deleting some older images and collections. Along with the update I have added a special gallery. It is one that highlights water and movement featuring the magical flow and energies that only water can provide to the viewer.

I particularly like the images entitled Breaking Through, River Shaman and Water Spirits. Each is very distinct and emote a unique connection with the spiritual side of nature and my interpretation.

Water Movement - Breaking Through

11x17 Reproduction entitled Breaking Through

The abstract collection contains many new images and in particular I like Planetary Storm, Signs and Quaking Aspens. They have a tendency to create thought provoking conversations with Storm and Signs being close ups of ice and the Aspens a dreamy blur of implied motion.

In the Panorama Collection both the Garden Panorama and Color Pallet are new and very different in image presentation. Color Pallet is an abstract interpretation of the Garden pan image location.

Included in the Landscape collection are photographs from Montana, Idaho, Hawaii and Utah. All are intriguing locations to enjoy and contemplate their distinctive settings. Twin Lakes and Honopu Valley are awe inspiring sites.

Abstract interpretation Quaking Aspens

11x17 Reproduction - Quaking Aspens

My Floral Collection is the most extensive with numerous possibilities of picture pairs and sets that can be combined for outstanding wall décor and layouts with everything from Bunny Tails and Dahlias to Orchids and tulips. Jewels and Floral Harmony have recently appeared in calendars showcasing Montana Photographers.

So I invite readers of this Blog to visit my website: www.rangeofvisionphotos.com  and I hope you find something of interest and stimulation to your senses.

You will also find connections to two books that I published since December. Range of Vision – Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment and Horizon of Stars – A Photographic Journal of an African Safari.

Layouts on a third publication entitled Edge of Heaven – A Photo Essay on Hawaii is in the works and should be available in April/May.

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Out of curiosity and in an effort to continue forward movement regarding my creative efforts  I have been doing a little research and decided to learn some new technology regarding HDR photography.

HDR or High Dynamic Range photography is a post processing activity that combines a number of images with different contrast ratios that are unfeasible to complete with just one exposure. Usually you take three photos of the same scene at different shutter speeds and then combine them into one image. I have also tried this simply by bracketing, adjusting the exposure settings to plus one stop your normal exposure and minus one stop.

So you get three images, one overexposed, one for midtones and then one underexposed.  These are combined with software, I used Photoshop CS3. This process gives you details in both highlights and shadows that are joined with the medium or normal exposure giving you results that seem to be more accurate to what your eyes actually perceived at the scene.

What I found in working out the process is that it can work great for some images and not so much for others. My first attempts looked fake and artificial. The colors were exaggerated to the point that the scenic landscape I was working on looked gaudy.

However, when the HDR process really worked the image was much more suggestive of what I actually saw when I tripped the shutter on location. Shadow details were crisp and clear and the highlight information was bright and smooth. The final print represented what was much closer to actually being there and what I saw.

I have included a couple of examples of what I found in this post for your review.

Blackeyed Susans

Normal range image - Blackeyed Susans

HDR Blackeyed Susans

High Dynamic Range image - Blackeyed Susans

There are many HDR software applications out there along with numerous books and
Elephant Brothers

Normal range image - Elephant Brothers

tutorials on how to apply the process. Like most things this is just another tool that you can

HDR photograph - Elephant Brothers

High Dynamic Range image - Elephant Brothers

apply to your visual interpretations. It is always good to learn and experiment.  See what works for your style of photography.

I like the distinguishing details HDR portrays and as long as the colors are not overstated I’ll continue to have this method in my arsenal and use it to interpret different scenes and express my creativity. I encourage you to take a look at the HDR practice. It is definitely worth the time and effort.

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Range of Vision – Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

New Book by Wayne Scherr

Range of Vision is a photographic portfolio by Fine Art Photographer and Photojournalist Wayne Scherr.   Based in Montana, Wayne’s images presented in this book are a selection of nature photographs made in pursuit of self discovery and expression.

The Still Point is at the heart of the creative process. To be “Still” or “In the Moment” means to empty your psyche from the incessant flow of thoughts and create a state of consciousness that is open and receptive to your surroundings.

The Range of Vision portrayed in this full color book conveys a meditative approach to the design elements of  implied motion and movement of falling water, creeks and streams and features garden florals and interpretive abstracts.

80 pages illustrated with 87 photographs.

Standard landscape format 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 cm) with soft cover $37.95

To preview and purchase your copy of Range of Vision , go to

http://www.blurb.com/books/1877388

Black-eyed Susans, garden image

Black-eyed Susans

 

Web site: http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com

Blog: www.myphotovisions.wordpress.com

Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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The southern end of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness complex pushes up nearly a vertical mile. This Wilderness Unit shows off a glaciated history that left its rugged mark carving out jagged pinnacles, broad u-shaped valleys and high alpine cirques in the Taylor Hilgard mountain range of Southwest Montana.

We drove up Beaverhead Creek Road to Potamogeton trail head in the Beaverhead National Forest and began our moderate to strenuous journey into the Wilderness Area.

echo peak lee metcalf wilderness

Echo Peak Hilgard Basin Montana

We headed up Sentinel Creek, trail 202 all the way to Expedition Pass  then we turned south on trail 201 and followed it into the basin all the way to Blue Paradise Lake.

There are several sharp summits and ridges etched along the Divide with Hilgard Peak at 11,316 ft., being the highest point in Montana outside of the Beartooth Mountains a hundred miles to the east.  The Basin is a great glaciated relief to investigate and photograph.

Most of the high altitude 70 blue gem-like lakes that are scattered on both sides of the divide in this Wilderness Unit are in Hilgard Basin. Expedition Lake is at 9,600 feet just below the pass. It is easy to get around most of the lakes and mountain creeks which makes’ for better access to light and composition for landscape work.

Depending on where you settle for camp this adventure is a MINIMUM of a 15 to 20 mile backpack trek not counting side trips for photography and exploration.

Expedition Pass into Hilgard Basin

Expedition Pass into Hilgard Basin

Once you are up into the Basin area there are many moderate to much more strenuous side trails and bushwhacking scrambles up numerous ridges and peaks for excellent panoramic views.

Yellowstone National Park and the Tetons are to the south. Lone Mountain, the Sphinx and Helmet are to the northwest.

Among the Madison Range’s awesome landscapes, the Hilgard Basin is an unusual high-altitude, lake-filled basin.  Both early morning and evening light can be inspirational.  

The highlight of this trip was Echo Peak. At 11,214 feet, Echo is the third highest peak in the Madison Range of southwestern Montana and has a doable steady scramble route up its north ridge. It only took a few hours to climb and lunch was on top with outstanding views.

The best hiking is from midsummer into the fall season. This high country usually does not clear of snow until the middle of July. So the trail can get a little busy at times.

Some people can take in this trip as a long day hike but I feel you miss out a lot if you don’t spend at least a night or two exploring the Basin. Setting up a base camp in the main basin is the way to go.

Any time one is fortunate to experience a wilderness setting with a camera is always an opportunity to jump at.  It sharpens your senses and critical focus. The efforts made will come back to you in many ways besides the potential of good images.

For more information on the Lee Metcalf Wilderness contact the Gallatin National Forest at 406-587-2520 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/

 Related Post:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness

All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photos, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Not being able to travel as much as I would like to seek out and photograph the big dramatic landscapes of the Rockies, I have begun focusing on more intimate scenes.

Discovering abstract patterns in nature’s details and then capturing that energy flow through the magic of light has become just as powerful and exciting for me.

In spending more garden time instead of mountain -time I’ve learned to be more observant, detailed and to move at a much slower pace. Less ground to cover and an excellent opportunity to watch the movement of light throughout the day.

You still use your vision and consciousness conceiving the image in thought and reacting to details, composition and patterns with emotion, capturing the moment. The process is just on a smaller scale.

Three new garden images are being released through my website gallery.

Bunny Tail grasses, blue forget me not flower

Summer Light

The first which is part of a series of images I am assembling on a decorative grass called Bunny Tails. This photograph came together with the very last warm reflective sun light of a summer’s day.

Summer Light”, has the added touch of a single blue forget me not flower that enhances the background tying both elements together creating depth. These were the only blooming plants in my yard when I set out to make an image.

Throughout the day I walked past the foot tall Bunnies swaying in the wind waiting for the moment of inspiration to grab me. Just before dusk they signaled they were ready. I saw a new composition and exposed for four different views as the sun sank below the horizon.

Beckworth Garden”, is an 8×24 inch panorama.

flower garden panorama yellow Black eyed Susan's

Beckworth Garden Panorama

Three times a growing season this family garden is awash with the radiant colors of thousands of tulips in spring then in summer poppies are blooming everywhere. Late summers’ Black-Eye Susan’s flowers were what brought our cameras out.  We rose before dawn and on location making exposures before any direct light greeted us.

Garden flowers, yellow black eyed susan's blooming

Black eyed Susan's

With “Black Eyed Susan’s” the challenge of making a simple composition was made more difficult with the use of only a wide angle lens. With thousands of blossoms filling the viewfinder directing attention to the scene’s essence was the object.

I previewed a shallow depth of field and used that setting range to explore the semi circle view of the garden we had access to.

The subtleties of morning light and the vibrant color tone of the flowers combined to convey different emotions from the same garden view.

Changing one’s perspective in the way we would normally approach a familiar subject to photograph inspires us with new ideas and refines our studies in light and composition. It gives us new directions for our vision.

Related posts:

http;//myphotovisions.wordpress.com/water-the-meditation-of-liquid-music/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/fear-and-persistance-of-expression/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/sense-what-the-landscape-is-telling-you/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Water, the essence of life, its constant movement has always drawn my attention both in my search for spirituality, a catalyst for meditation, and as a means of creative expression through fine art photography.

I find there is something extremely soothing about water. Flowing water comes alive with a vibrancy that is gripping to ones soul, sparkling and dancing in a blur of movement and light.

Fluid water movement

Fluid - 11x17 Giclee watercolor print

Just as water has a lot of physical benefits to the body, it also has a lot of mental benefits when utilized in meditation.  Ever wonder why a person feels refreshed while standing near the ocean, a waterfall or a stream?

Besides how calming the sound of flowing water is, water produces negative ions. When near a cascading waterfall or stream these negative ions get absorbed into the bloodstream and we feel both calm and invigorated.

Feeling its peacefulness is what I want my images to portray.  I want viewers to close their eyes and take long deep breaths and feel refreshed. I want them to imagine the sounds that emanate from a flowing creek and trigger a sense of serenity into their subconscious.

Unlike my work in photojournalism, fine art photography, for me, is all about the pure pleasure of creating the image.

Custom giclee print, water movement, implied motion

Liquidity - 11x17 Giclee print

My approach is to interpret the mood of the waterfall, river or creek before I photograph it. A fast shutter speed freezes the movement and in a sense documents the action. Using a slower shutter speed begins to transform the mood with a more mystical feeling.

Those long multi second exposures present a scene with a silky flow and a more dreamlike sensation. Illustrating the point of view of what water meditation can convey to the psyche is part of the creative process in capturing the image.

Sometimes enhancing the color saturation of the rocks that lie under the water may best define your vision. Capturing bright specular highlights is another way to convey your feelings to the viewer. It is a personal matter of interpretation and creative vision.

Proper print display culminates your invitation to extend your private experience and share it with others. Water meditation exemplified through Giclee prints on watercolor paper can invoke calm, soothing feelings both for the mind and body. They can help bring about a feeling of well being while washing away stress. It is the whirl of the moment caught in an image that draws attention and captivates the viewer developing a meditative state.

Related posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/fear-and-persistance-of-expression/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/sense-what-the-landscape-is-telling-you/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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As a follow up to my last post,” Vision and Experimentation Creates Expression”, I wanted to make note of another photo session in an effort to push my thoughts on what makes a Fine Art Photography print and how to expand my interpretation of landscape images.

Driving back from Missoula to Bozeman, Montana last weekend I took a detour and drove the Pintler Scenic Route, MT Hwy 1. Through the Sapphire Mountains and along Georgetown Lake’s cobalt blue waters where the views were mostly pine forest and snow capped peaks.

I had photographed the area many times before when I was the publisher of a regional travel guide some years back.  It was the familiarity of the scene that was a problem for me. I didn’t want the same style landscape I already had in my stock files.

aspen grove abstract landscape image

Aspen Grove Abstract Giclee Print

In making a change from a photojournalist to fine art photographer I am always trying to leave behind a documentary style of communication to a more interpretive and personal one. I am always asking what if?

Among the tens of thousands of pine trees I found a small grove of aspens dressed in bright spring green color.  I have more than a dozen aspen grove images in all seasons. What could I do that would be different this time?

Walking along the road I felt the sense of movement of the aspens in my vision. How could I capture this feeling and compose it in the viewfinder?

Setting up my tripod I began panning across the trees. With a slow shutter speed of ¼ second I exposed a shot.  It just wasn’t the right motion.

I stood there and stared at the white bark surrounded by fluttering green leaves. Then the image came. A vertical pan or tilt with the same shutter speed.

It captured the mood I felt and it was visually different from my stock landscapes of aspens.

Experimenting, trying something a bit unorthodox is always a good thing. It doesn’t matter if the results work or not as an image that communicates. The point is that you try something different to make changes in your vision.

Expand awareness of your surroundings be in the moment and the images will reach out to you as connections are made.

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/vision-and-experimentation-creates-expression/

 https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/twenty-minute-challenge-photograph-an-orchid/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/use-red-accent-photographs-to-capture-attention/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/1/12/what-can-orange-do-for-you?/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/purple-an-element-of-fire/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/can-color-photgraphs-enhance-positive-feelings-of-well-being?/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/photography-and-feng-shui-for-interior-design/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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I was looking down working on a set of ice pond abstracts trying to figure out how to approach this subject with my camera. I was up early, the morning light was good and it wasn’t very cold.  I searched for the design and compositional elements featuring close up conceptual images to come to me.

Nothing here, nothing there, I kept on walking around a five acre puddle laden parking lot. Head down, I scanned a dozen sheets of thin cracked ice. I felt frustrated. There had to be something worthwhile here.

nature abstract pond ice

Pond Ice 2 - 11x17 Giclee Print

Where was that Zen moment I needed? I know from experience if I am open, images will show themselves and allow my camera to capture their essence. Don’t rush this I thought. Breathe. Enjoy the space. The day is good.

I changed to a macro lens and did another turn around the lot looking deeper. Finally, some air bubbles beneath a delicate slip of ice caught my eye and while down on my knees I made a few exposures. A glance to the left and more possibilities appeared. Circles and lines with slight gradients of grey blue color began to stand out.

OK, this is better I thought. Keep up the observation.

Suddenly a piercing cry from the sky drew my attention. Looking up I saw two bald eagles. www.birdweb.org . They danced in the bright blue Montana sky playing tag on the wind. Circling each other, one flipped over and they locked talons, free falling several feet before they leveled off and continued their course south toward the Spanish Peaks and the Madison mountain range across the valley.

Nature abstract pond ice

Pond Ice 6 - 11x17 Giclee Print

I stood with an adrenalin rush awed by the wild sight I had just witnessed. I felt humbled by the rare event. It had me mesmerized with a broad grin until they flew off in the distance their white heads and tails disappearing, blending into the snowcapped peaks on the horizon.

What an honor!

These few momentous seconds gave me my nature connection. In an instant I felt centered. The spirits had touched me.

Returning to my down to earth visual task of pond ice photographs the invigorating experience refocused my awareness. New images began to flow. Now, those air bubble circles, icy streaks and muddy textures joined in my viewfinder all on their own. I became the conduit that tripped the shutter.

nature abstract pond ice

Pond Ice 5 - 11x17 Giclee Print

A successful morning effort added several new images to my nature abstract collection. I left the parking lot feeling high.

Two days later I was contacted by an online gallery with an invitation to join their selective artist’s family, www.discoveredartists.com.  They reviewed work from my web site and asked me to submit nature abstracts to market and feature on their site. My reward was complete.

The positive effects of being open and making an effort to pursue my art continues to drive my creativity and strengthen my beliefs.

Related posts of interest:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/winter-hunt-on-peach-street/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/final-fall-visuals-to-keep-the-focus-on-creative-photography/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/no-fall-color-only-seed-pods-to-photograph/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/seeing-with-a-beginners-mind/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/water-speaking-water/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/winter-windows/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/river-shaman/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Hawks and eagles have always mesmerized me. Their strength and regal demeanor are fascinating and living here in Montana with mountains and prairies close at hand there is plenty of opportunity to witness the excitement of soaring flight.

Even here in town hawks are plentiful throughout winter. A stand of tall white pine trees tower over my neighborhood. While shoveling snow I noticed two Goshawks perched at the top of one of the tallest pines.

These neighborhood hunters catch the wind and glide through the north side of town at or below treetop level. Sometimes hovering in place they search the ground for food, heads scanning back and forth, ever so alert.

Redtail hawk bird of prey

Bird of Prey

Their flight patterns formed large circles that always ended up on their pine perch. I knew they nested nearby but never noticed exactly where they made their home. It was this 60 foot stand of pines just a block away.

I saw fresh snow blanketing their stoic bodies. With a sudden flutter of feathers they flung the flakes off. Then they readjusted their footing settling in again, always watching for something live and edible.

While continuing my shoveling I looked up every thirty seconds. The two hawks seemed to be watching me as well. A light breeze rose and snow fell from the phone wires above. Silence found in winter weather is potent. It centers sounds in your head like wearing headphones.

Tiny wrens from the surrounding block buzzed around houses feeding on lilac bushes and bird feeders. Several flew just above my head chirping away, chasing each other at high speed rounding the corner of my home.

I noted the hawks were gone and went back to shoveling the few inches of today’s fresh powder. In a flash a single wren flew past my face grabbing my attention, flapping its wings in a panic. The birds’ voice was no longer in song. Now it had a high pitched screech.

It raced across my yard in a straight line away from the bush that held several other wrens. Wings were in chaotic motion. I stood straight wondering what was going on.

Down from the sky, motionless the goshawk drifted. Its’ wings taunt and talons extended it glided in silence gaining on the little wren. They met in my front yard.

The chirping stopped as one talon reached out stabbing the tiny wren from above in split second timing. Clasping tightly there was no struggle as the hawk closed his talons. The hawk tweaked his tail feathers forcing the air beneath to push him up back into the trees.

The little wren must have sacrificed himself for the benefit of the flock hidden in the compact branches of my lilac bush. The only sound I heard was the whoosh of air as the hawk increased speed overtaking the wren twenty feet from me.

It was sudden, swift and silent.

Snow continued to fall. In a minute or two wrens began to sing again. The goshawks were perched high in the pines.

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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With more than 750 miles of trails in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness to choose from this was an excellent choice. It is the most popular Trans- Beartooth trail in this system but it was hard to resist. We began our trek near the Chief Joseph campground and the Clarks Fork trailhead, just east of Cooke City Montana. http://www.cookecitychamber.org

Once we divided up the gear we added another fifteen to twenty pounds of camera gear rounding our packs at almost 80 pounds each. It was hard to keep balanced. That first mile was just getting use to the added weight.

Backpackers above Dewey Lake

Backpackers Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

We choose to start our trek on the west side because of the long elevation gain on the East Rosebud side. With our heavy packs it would be better to be hiking downhill the last 16 or so miles.

Just off a foot bridge we could hear a waterfall.  We checked it out for photo possibilities.  One of the new guys to these trails leaned over the wooden rail for a better view and his camp shoes slid off his pack and down thirty feet into the creek. Within seconds his shoes tumbled over the falls another twenty feet.

Dropping our packs we scrambled down the side path next to the falls recovering Buzz’s shoes which added another two pounds to his ordeal. This was our great start to a 30+ mile, seven day hike to the East Rosebud side of the wilderness.

The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, covering 920,310 acres, is an administrated unit of the Gallatin National Forest, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin,

 Custer National Forest, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/custer and the Shoshone National Forest, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/shoshone. Both Montana http://www.visitmt.com
and Wyoming http://www.wyomingtoursim.org claim sections of this magnificent wilderness.

Sky Top Lake

Sky Top Lake Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

This mountain range was named after a jagged mountain peak above Hell Roaring Canyon that resembles a bear’s tooth. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is one of the largest contiguous road less areas in the United States.

The high granitic plateaus of the Beartooth Mountains contain hundreds of lakes that lie throughout the bald rock and alpine tundra. This is a backpacker’s dream, with more contiguous acreage of alpine tundra above 10,000 feet than any range in the lower 48.

We moved on the trail which lead us past Kersey Lake and up toward Fossil Lake. Panoramic views surrounded us with ragged rock peaks and sheer rock walls that plunged down talus slopes to canyon bottoms.

Fossil Lake is the drainage divide between the Clarks Fork and East Rosebud. During the night at Fossil Lake the northern lights glowed along the horizon to the northeast. The faded green light turned to reddish streaks adding to the mystery of stars that blanketed the big sky.

Dewey Lake Montana

Dewey Lake Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

On the descent toward East Rosebud we spent a couple of days at Dewey Lake and explored side trails that climbed up to Sky Top Lakes to get views of Granite Peak, Montana’s tallest mountain at 12,807 feet.

Impasse Falls was impressive as it cascaded down the rocky canyon walls. The great diversity of this region really comes into play as the trail crosses paths with dozens of streams, waterfalls and lakes on the descent toward the tiny summer community of Alpine that borders East Rosebud Lake at the trailhead.

The Beartooth’s are very different from its neighbor Yellowstone National Park http://www.yellowstoneparknet.com with so much alpine territory to travel. It is important to allow enough time to enjoy this spectacular country.  Backpackers should allow at least four days. Six or seven days gives one some rest time and opportunities to do some side trails that would expand the experience and soak up the isolation of this wilderness.

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/track-of-the-grizzly-bear
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/lee-metcalf-wilderness
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Vibrant wall décor can promote a higher level of upbeat energy in your surroundings. If you are looking for vivid accent colors try a photographic print that will give you’re psyche a little boost in concentration or inspire a strong sense of purpose in your home space or work environment.

In the art of Feng Shui placement the color orange, which is a mix of yellow and red, could be what you are looking for. In this ancient practice of presentation and channeling of positive energies in one’s life, orange, has been established as the color that best symbolizes these affirmative energy levels.

Double Orange Poppy profile garden flower

Double Orange Poppy 11x17 Print

Orange is a pretty strong fire color but it is definitely less aggressive than red. Obviously an orange painted wall may still be a bit much for most situations however an orange accent image or a triptych series of Giclee prints on watercolor paper or canvas can bring in an awareness of a fire element that is needed to add a cheerful tone to social conversations and good time feelings.

Certainly, this is a subtle thing. Just because you display a print that has a large area of orange does not mean that suddenly you will have greater powers of concentration and your get-togethers’ will be more joyous. It is in combination with other Feng Shui practices that illustrate how you really can target energy flows.

In winter to many people the color orange reminds them of a fire’s glow and a cheerful feeling is expressed when viewing images that employ this tone. Orange is actually a soft color and is easy to live with.  Warm amber light from sunsets streaming in your windows or incandescent lighting can illuminate its nurturing feelings and give a real spark to orange accent pieces.

Garden patch double orange poppies

Double Orange Poppy Patch 11x17 print

An easy way to incorporate orange and nature images into your space is through the use of flowers like these Oriental Double Poppies shown here. Poppies, too, have their own symbols and uses.

Poppies have been cultivated for thousands of years as ornamental garden plants. They include many other colors besides orange and range from dark solids to soft pastels of many shades. Their long stems and large cup shaped flowers are a lively, playful feature in any garden as they dance in the breeze.

So if you have a preference for warm florals try featuring a bit of orange in the form of Giclee prints that can contribute to increased energy levels and build a natural atmosphere that is mentally stimulating and sociable. They will get people talking.

Related Posts:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/purple-an-element-of-fire/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/can-color-photgraphs-enhance-positive-feelings-of-well-being?/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/photography-and-feng-shui-for-interior-design/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Even though the winter season has just begun, it seems cold weather has held me captive in my home for days.  I didn’t realize how long it had been since I took the time to get out into the mountains. Seeing as it was the first of the year, I felt it was time to process the activities of the past months and try to gain some perspective.

As with most creative people there are spells of inactivity mixed with procrastination and a lull in motivation levels.  I am a photojournalist and fine art nature photographer. When life runs smooth I go through the elation of being in the moment with my work. A bad day has me feeling depressed for letting my conscious voice get the best of me.

At times we are centered in a down flow of a creative energy wave that can be costly to your personal life. It can interfere with business distracting you from your expressive goals as an artist. It can build walls and lead relationships away from your desired objective as with family.

Not everyone in the world understands how the torment of one’s own negative thoughts or how someone else’s simple actions can strike like bolts of lightning and can disable your creative spirit for long periods of time. Things happen.

The energies that define creativity are fragile. They can lift you high or slap you silly. When we are stripped down to basics, if necessary, we start again to rediscover who we really are and why we do what we do.

For some people their art is the, “only”,  aspiration they can see. It’s like a set of blinders that directs your life no matter the cost.

Winter Gallatin River

Winter frost Gallatin River

So with all these enchanting thoughts rolling around my head I drove up Gallatin Canyon towards Big Sky this morning. Snow coverage is light to moderate so far this winter with only a twelve inch base built up on the river banks.  At first light it was just plain cold, five below. With the humidity at the river I felt a few shivers up my spine.

Days like this, when I seek renewal, I find comfort in being outdoors. Fresh air and a bit of vitamin D from sunshine is enough to regain some confidence in spirit and nurture a few creative thoughts.

A light wind kept hoar frost from building up on most trees except for a fifty yard swathe near the mouth of the canyon.  Pines on the east side of the river bank were draped in the purity of white with blue sky and river reflections.

No cars or trucks. No birds singing, only a pair of Bald Eagles that nest nearby watched curiously in silence as I labored through the snow. Once, I stood at the water’s edge, I could hear the river speak in muffled tones as small ice flows crashed into boulders and burst into tiny fragments dissolving into the continuous flow.  It was a welcoming metaphor, a peaceful, eternal greeting.

A minute of breathing deep and feeling centered, my thoughts expand and fuse with the stream’s currant. Together, in concert with the river, I extended my reach to grab a slippery rock. It is an alluring vision of a real Photographer’s, (Artist’s), life.  

Somehow, the visual mix of free flowing water and its’ song rushing on the rocks is what I needed to fuel anticipation again and get prepared.

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/would-you-get-up-early-to-photograph-this/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/no-fall-color-only-seed-pods-to-photograph/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/final-fall-visuals-to-keep-the-focus-on-creative-photography/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2010, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Today, wind has gathered grey clouds with a minus 24 degree temperature.  Silenced by a deep winter blanket of snow Bozeman is quiet today, just after a week of sun and above normal temps. A new season has made its’ transition.

With no large fall landscapes to photograph this year because of an early freeze in October, I had to be content to work on close ups and search for compatible light in my backyard garden last week.

Autumn leaf

Autumn Leaf - Digital Print

Living in the mountains I like the grand vistas of autumn with colorful aspen, maple and cottonwood trees. It is easy to bypass the individual or smaller splash of color. The garden was stark and matted down with only a few leaves hanging on twisted branches.

Twigs rubbing on a wooden shed caught my attention.  A handful of leaves clung to the shrub. Backlit they stood out from the grey weathered shed. It gave me possibilities.

Using macro focus and a very shallow depth of field I isolated a single leaf, blurred the background and utilized the stem, twig and limb structure of the shrub to draw the viewer further into the image. My composition was clean and simple, offsetting the leaf and getting the plane of focus accurate enough to give the setup a three dimensional feel.

Hanging hollyhock leaves

Hanging Hollyhock Leaves - Digital Print

A series of images produced both back and front lit leaves incorporating small branches with an almost bonsai structure setting.

Autumn Leaf 6

Autumn Leaf 6 - Digital Print

The south side of the garden produced a different scenario. A withered Hollyhock with a string of leaves hung from a downed stalk, only inches from the ground. I thought the background was busy however I really liked the colors of border rocks and blue shadow playing on the ground behind the dead leaves. I stayed with the shallow depth of field and used my macro focus on a 200mm lens compressed the image and isolated the subject.

The shrunken leaves reminded me of mice hanging by their tails. I laughed.  Good light was essential to the success of the image. It gave me crisp detail and subtle color that created a late moody autumn shot.

A final arrangement consisted of wrinkled Hollyhock blossoms with only a touch of deep wine red in the gnarled petals. Seed pods formed a bug eyed Preying Mathis in my minds’ eye so I recomposed to depict the essence of the bug structure with an illuminated background.

Bug Bud

Bug Bud - Withered Hollyhocks

Guess, I will call it a whimsical abstract.  Look hard you may see it too.

This weekend having to bare the winter chill I’ll get out there again with camera in hand.  Colors are more monochromatic and compositional lines both sensually soft and with deep shadows, very graphic.

There is no ideal time of day or season to go outdoors and have some fun finding the flow of energies that gather before your lens. It is the visual exercise and the process that counts. You need to stay creative no matter what.

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/would-you-get-up-early-to-photograph-this/

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/no-fall-color-only-seed-pods-to-photograph/

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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Our canoes slipped silently through the chilly waters of the Madison River. A few geese honked overhead and ducks splashed along the shoreline seeking safety in the reeds and overhangs.

The ceaseless current guided our crafts past eroded sandstone and mud packed banks, on this stretch of the river it carved them into endless shapes.

Autumn canoeing on the Madison River

Madison River near Three Forks, Montana

I couldn’t help but fantasize about Lewis and Clark and the Native Americans who also floated and crossed this scenic river in the not so distant past. Not a lot has changed since those canoes pasted this way. The cottonwood trees that bore witness are still standing tall near the water’s edge.

If you read the 1805 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, http://www.lewisandclarktrail.com, then you know where to find their campsites and place yourself in their footsteps building campfires and setting up their tents. History is all around.

The damp scents of the river and sweet cottonwoods invigorate my senses. It is easy to stay alert, watching for game, or picturing a Hidatsa Indian party riding up on the ridges, looking for Sacagawea. Her kidnapping was the beginning of a venture that led her into the annals of history in the American West and relocated her far from her homeland.

aerial Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park, Montana

We drifted on the river’s flow past Three Forks, Montana, www.threeforskmontana.com, and on toward the Missouri River Headwater’s State Park. Headwaters, or as most of those who live here, just call it “Three Forks”, is the geographic confluence of the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers and forms the headwaters of the Missouri, the longest river in the  U.S.

Each river has its own course flow and visual landscape. Friends and I have had many adventures, seeing the sights, on these clear water tributary trips. Deer, Moose Eagles, Heron and, of course, rattlesnakes are all out there.

Each season different animals appear, just like the transition of wildflowers from Sagebrush Buttercups to Queen Ann’s Lace or the brilliant color change from early green spring willow buds to bright yellow autumn leaves. All you have to do is pay attention.

And these graceful rivers will grab your attention!

Contact Information: Missouri Headwaters, Region 3 FWP Office, 1400 S. 19th St. Bozeman, MT  59715 or call (406) 994-4042.

For Further Information:

Bozeman Chamber of Commerce – http://www.bozemannet.com

Information on the Lewis and Clark Trail – http://lewisandclark.state.mt.us/discovery.shtm

Montana Department of Commerce – http://www.travelmt.com

 

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com 

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Twice I had to stop and tighten the leather cinch on my saddle. It kept sliding to the right and I felt like I was riding on a slant about to fall off. Each time I dismounted to make the adjustment my horse, named Charlie, would take a deep breath filling his lungs with air.

When I remounted he would exhale and loosen the saddle again. He thought he was tricky but I got him the third time, stalling long enough to get those straps tight and my saddle straight. 

This was my first photo assignment that covered a cattle drive. I had been on many pack trips into the wilderness and photographed more than a dozen rodeos, but this was my first real working cowboy experience.

cattle drive

Cattle Drive in Centennial Valley, Montana

Of course not being a wrangler, (I don’t like the word dude), I was elected to ride the dusty drag line bringing up the rear, herding any stragglers wanting to double back to the ranch, and turn them toward new pastures as we approached the Centennial Valley.

The Centennial Mountains in Southwest Montana cover a swathe of some 28,000 acres and has some of Montana’s best wild and very rugged country. They connect the northern Rocky Mountains with the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. 

This rough range runs along the Idaho-Montana border south east of Dillon, Montana with prime vistas and a notable wildlife population. http://www.dillonmontana.net

Native American tribes, especially the Shoshone-Bannock and the Nez Perce knew the Centennial Valley very well as it was a favored travel route between the headwaters of Big Hole River and Yellowstone country to the east.

At the base of the Centennial Mountains on the north side is the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Red Rock Lakes is designated a National Natural Landmark, (http://www.redrocks.fws.gov/) as well as one of the few marshland Wilderness Areas in the United States.

Centennial Valley

Centennial Mountains

Its diverse natural habitat provides an ideal nesting environment not only for swans, Sandhill cranes and other waterfowl but numerous hawks, eagles and peregrine falcons. The massive Centennial Range protects the valley and dominates the southern skyline blocking any view of Idaho.

Some years ago I taught Wilderness Photography Workshops through a local guest ranch that borders the Refuge so I was very familiar with the geology and terrain we were working the cattle into. Our ride was slow and very dusty as we moved 250 head of cattle from the Matador Ranch into the broad picturesque Centennial valley.

Although there were a dozen riders it was really the Australian Shepherd and Blue Healer dogs that did most of the work. Just a few barks and nips kept the cows bunched as they herded them in the right direction.

Three of the drovers chased down the strays that would take off running into the sage bellowing and crying out as if a bug had just bit them in the butt.

The quarter horses we rode knew just what to do. They could turn on a dime nosing the cows around not letting any steer get ahead of them. Actually, those of us ridding drag just took in the sights and occasionally cracked a bullwhip, more for the fun of it then a disciplinary tactic against a steer.

Two of my fellow riders were writers on this project so I just worked on some action shots of wranglers, faces and expressions. Only once was I able to get in front of the herd to photograph the oncoming steers and cows.

This was a bit disappointing to me. At times when on an assignment you have to accept what is offered, when you are a guest, even after you try to explain why you are there and the kind of imagery you want to expose for, to tell your story. Sometimes, you just can’t push the issue. You have to make the best of it.

I accepted the issue at hand and still enjoyed the day. I photographed the basics for the story and played cowboy working on my horsemanship.

Trumpter Swans

Trumpeter Swans

In the distance from the hills behinds us in the west, just barely above pine tree level, we could hear honking. Even above the constant moos and bellows of calves and cows, it grew louder. Then perhaps fifty or more Trumpeter Swans flying in a tight V formation zoomed overhead soaring toward the Red Rock marshes. Honking was so loud even the steers and horses looked up to see what was going on.

It was as if the world stopped, the entire herd, horses and riders were suddenly silent and a vortex opened allowing the flight of trumpeting white swans to pass through, channeled directly to the lakes just below us.

A whip crack snapped in the air, the vortex closed and the cattle drive was back on.

Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com. You can contact me through this blog or through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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